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by Frederick Brotherton Meyer
Outline of Daniel
The Prophet of World-Empires
I. Historical Section, Daniel 1-6
1. Daniel and His Friends Tested , Daniel 1:1-21
2. Nebuchadnezzar’s Forgotten Dream , Daniel 2:1-49
3. The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace , Daniel 3:1-30
4. Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream , Daniel 4:1-37
5. Belshazzar’s Feast and Downfall , Daniel 5:1-31
6. Daniel Delivered from the Den of Lions , Daniel 6:1-28
II. Prophetical Section, Daniel 7-12
1. The Vision of the Four Beasts , Daniel 7:1-28
2. The Vision of the Ram and the He-Goat , Daniel 8:1-27
3. Daniel’s Prayer for Jerusalem and the Answer , Daniel 9:1-27
4. Daniel’s Vision by the River Hiddekel , Daniel 10:1-21
5. The Conflict of Nations , Daniel 11:1-45
6. The Last Judgment , Daniel 12:1-13
Introduction to Daniel
Daniel and Jonah differ from the other prophets in that their work was among foreign peoples. Their books are also unlike the other books of prophecy, in that they are largely historical. In both books, also, the supernatural element is unusually prominent.
Daniel was a prophet-statesman and his book deals with Babylon and the empires which should follow it until the coming of the divine kingdom. Of its twelve chapters, Daniel 1:1-21 ; Daniel 2:1-49 ; Daniel 3:1-30 ; Daniel 4:1-37 ; Daniel 5:1-31 ; Daniel 6:1-28 are narrative, Daniel 7:1-28 ; Daniel 8:1-27 ; Daniel 9:1-27 ; Daniel 10:1-21 ; Daniel 11:1-45 ; Daniel 12:1-13 are devoted to visions. From Daniel 2:4-49 ; Daniel 3:1-30 ; Daniel 4:1-37 ; Daniel 5:1-31 ; Daniel 6:1-28 ; Daniel 7:1-28 the Aramaic language is employed; the opening and concluding sections are written in Hebrew. The latter part of the book is written in the first person, and as its unity is not disputed, the whole is to be ascribed to Daniel himself.
It opens with an account of the captivity of Daniel and his three friends, their fearless loyalty to the faith of their fathers, and their advancement in royal favor. While the heroic faith of his friends is manifested in their deliverance from the fiery furnace, Daniel himself is the prominent character in the history. He is distinguished for his ability not only to interpret dreams and visions but to reproduce such as had been forgotten. In his later life, after Babylon had passed into the hands of Persia, Daniel’s courage and faith received striding witness in his deliverance from the den of lions. This is the last recorded event in his life.
The symbolical visions which form the latter half of the book, with the dream of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:1-49 ), set forth the successive establishment of four empires: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The last empire then gives way to smaller kingdoms until the setting up of the kingdom of God, which is to include all the dominions of the earth.
In the vision of a future kingdom of righteousness, the book is at one with all prophecy. In this kingdom even the dead shall share, being raised from the dust of the earth to everlasting life. Much as there is in the book that is hard to understand, the prophecy of Daniel has always ministered to Christian faith, and the climax of its visions is still the hope of the Church.
e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of Daniel in the printed edition
Review Questions on Daniel
( a ) Into what two parts is this book naturally divided?
( b ) What visions were granted to Daniel?
( c ) In what respects was the work of Daniel and Jonah alike?
( d ) What empires are symbolized in the visions? What is to be the nature of the final kingdom?
Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments .
1. Why did the four young Jewish captives object to the wine and meat provided by the king? How did God reward their moral courage?
2. Why did King Nebuchadnezzar command that all the wise-men of Babylon be slain?
3. Whence came Daniel’s knowledge of the king’s dream and the wisdom to interpret it?
4. What interpretation of the dream did Daniel give?
5. What three men refused to worship the golden image?
6. What were the results of their loyalty to God?
7. What was the second dream of King Nebuchadnezzar?
8. What humiliation was to come upon him?
9. What caused Belshazzar to tremble with fear at the feast?
10. What was the meaning of the writing? How did the feasting of the king end?
11. What was Daniel’s custom regarding prayer?
12. How was Daniel delivered from the death planned by his enemies?
13. What four empires do the four beasts in Daniel’s vision represent?
14. What kingdom shall outlast all others?
15. What was the second vision sent to Daniel?
16. How was the vision explained and by whom?
17. For whom did Daniel offer a prayer of intercession? What was his request?
18. What kind of prayer prevails with God?
19. How was Daniel enabled to bear the wonderful vision by the river?
20. What nations’ rise and fall does Daniel predict?
21. What countries are meant by the “king of the south and the king of the north?”
22. In spite of their long series of triumphs, what will be the end of these ungodly kings and nations?
23. What is the teaching of the chapter concerning the resurrection and judgment? What should be the attitude of a Christian in view of the “time of the end?”
the Fifth Week after Epiphany